Conservatives stand by their council colleague

Patrick Warner
Patrick Warner

EASTBOURNE Tories are standing by their beleaguered council colleague after the car firm he ran went bust – owing cash to local businesses.

The party says the Conservative group believes that Councillor Patrick Warner’s private business is not having an impact on his work as a ward councillor in Sovereign.

Last week the Herald reported that Mr Warner’s business Sterling Automotive Ltd ran into financial problems at the end of last year – including unpaid bills of £10,000 to his landlord and money owed to the tax man – and was liquidated.

A new firm was set up, Sterling Automotive (Brighton) Ltd of which Mr Warner is an employee and not a director, which is operating next to the original company’s former business premises.

Mr Warner blamed a change in the ownership of MG overseas together with the general economic climate for the original company folding.

This week the Eastbourne Conservative group said it had been made aware of the situation by Cllr Warner at the end of 2011 and he had the support of his colleagues.

Sandie Howlett, deputy leader of the party, said, “During the latter stages of 2011, Patrick Warner made the group aware of the difficulties that had arisen regarding his business, Sterling Automotive Ltd, prompted by the closure of the showroom in the Enterprise Centre.

“Patrick has advised the group that he has taken legal advice and is in the process of resolving these difficulties following the advice given.

“This is an on going situation which will change as time moves on.

“Essentially, the group is of the view that Patrick’s private business is not having an impact on his ability to be a ward councillor and we fully support him in that role.

“Needless to say, we have empathy for Patrick, his family and everyone who has been adversely affected by the current situation.”